Along with the Pakistani people, the National Lawyers Guild and Pakistan Justice Coalition welcome the resignation of Pervez Musharraf as a victory in the struggle for democracy, rule of law and human rights.
Musharraf and Bush
Musharraf’s rapid fall from power demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Bush administration’s policy of advocating liberty while supporting autocracy. As the Coalition has previously stated, the real tension today is not between democracy and terror, but between those who support expansion of democratic and human rights and those who seek to infringe upon them. The Bush administration supported the Musharraf regime on the grounds that it was an ally in the so-called war on terrorism and overlooked its violations of the most fundamental democratic rights. Both administrations also refused to respect judicial independence, accepting the removal and incarceration of over half of Pakistan’s legitimate judges.
Pakistani Lawyers Movement stands proud
In the face of popular opposition that even potentially rigged elections could not conceal, the Musharraf presidency was finally—and fortunately—doomed to failure. President Bush often claims liberty is the birthright and natural desire of all people. Had he really believed his rhetoric, however, he would have supported the heroic lawyers of Pakistan in their demands, rather than the now-deposed and discredited Musharraf. The Lawyers Movement has represented the legal profession at its best. We stand with it and share the joy of its triumph. While Pakistan’s future remains far from certain, it has taken an enormous step forward.
Founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association, which did not admit people of color, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York, and it has chapters in every state.